Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Reality of Ecuador: June/July/August 1989 -- Introduction

In the late 1980's, I worked at Brookdale Community College, in Lincroft, NJ, not far from the Shore. Following are excerpts from a journal I kept of a journey to Ecuador.

Brookdale Community College has an extension campus in Guayaquil, Ecuador. We sometimes refer to it as "Brookdale South." Besides offering college courses for Ecuadorian students, we also have a service learning program in which American students take classes and work at various social agencies such as Children International, hospitals, adoption agencies, schools, agencies for the handicapped, etc.

In July, 1989, Brookdale, in conjunction with Ecuador's Laica University, hosted a conference on the cultural geography of Ecuador. The purpose of this conference, "The Reality of Ecuador", was to acquaint educators with Ecuador so that we could incorporate this experience into our classroom activities and contacts with students. We were each to prepare a module based on what we'd learned at the conference.

Each of us stayed with an Ecuadorian family so that we would get a better idea of what life is like for an Ecuadorian. Every weekday morning for two weeks we were picked up by a van and taken to Laica University for a seminar. We usually went home to our families for lunch. In the afternoon we would visit social agencies, museums, etc. We visited two cities in the Andes mountains, Cuenca and Quito, during the weekends.

Most of us chose to visit the Galapagos Islands for a week. I was stuck in Ecuador for an additional two weeks because of the problem with my ticket.

Brookdale also sent a group to France for the same type of seminar. Whenever we were having problems with the water, food transportation, etc., I just kept telling myself, "the other group is in France, and they are eating French food, looking at French scenery, and drinking French wine! You idiot! Why didn't you apply for the French conference??!!!

I hope that in this Journal I don't give you the impression that I had a rotten, miserable time. There were rough times, but this was one of the most interesting, worthwhile experiences I have ever had, and I wouldn't trade a minute of it for the world -- except, perhaps getting sick and falling out of the van into the gutter.


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